Saturday, September 3, 2011

Top Of Utah Half Marathon-August 27th

This was a completely different race than the Utah Valley 1/2 marathon I ran a couple months ago in June.  I felt like I had trained a little harder and went into this race with a different attitude. I also felt like I knew a little more of what to expect with the whole experience and was ready now to not only finish this race but challenged myself to beat my old time.

I need to back up though and start at the beginning.  Since I don't live in the Logan area and couldn't just wake up Saturday morning and head to the starting line, our family-Mark, Cooper, and myself headed up on Friday night after everyone was done working. (Jordan couldn't go with us)  Kali, Wade and Miles left a little earlier than us and headed up to Wade's parents house.  We stopped off at Subway and each got a footlong sandwich-so delicious! We ate them in the car on our ride up.  We went straight to the park where the finish line was to be to pick up the race packet and then checked into our motel.  I realized I had forgotten a jacket for in the morning when it's cool in the canyon so we met up with my good friends, Jody and Doran, and headed over to Walmart.  I found a cute, blue lightweight jacket and Cooper and mark bought some snacks.  Jody and Doran bought some race gu and energy bars, and then we headed back to the motel to hit the sack.

Saturday morning 5:00 am dawned bright and early, well, not bright yet.  It was still pretty dark.  I got up and got my gear on and ate peanut butter and banana, my very favorite morning food before a run.  Mark took me to the bus loading area and I wandered around in the dark hoping to find Doran which I did pretty quickly.  My friend Jody is still nursing an injury and so couldn't run.  Someday we will run a half together.  Doran and I got on the buses and rode the long drive to the starting point.

Blacksmith Fork Canyon is beautiful and surprisingly wasn't freezing cold like Provo Canyon was in June.  I was still glad for my new jacket though.  We got off the buses and walked around and I wanted to find another friend whom I heard would be running.  I only looked about 10 minutes and I found her, which is pretty amazing since there were about 2500 runners up there waiting to start.  Kristine Freeze is also from my neck of the woods and was going to be running her first half marathon.  She is one funny girl and kept me laughing while we waited to start.  I wasn't expecting to see her after we started since she already does triathlons and was hoping to finish this race in under 2 hours.

The morning sky gradually lightened up and the magic moment came when the gun went off!  My whole mind- set was to just push a little harder than I did in my first race but not too much to wear myself out early.  I had my headphones on and just ran and ran and ran enjoying the canyon breeze and the beautiful nature all around me.

After about 4 miles into the race I saw an older man ahead of me and decided I was in the mood for chatting.  I caught up to him and he wasn't listening to any music so I took my earbuds out and just started talking to him.  I didn't know if that was alright or not.  I haven't been running long enough to know the do's and dont's or any certain protocol to these races.  But what I did come to discover was that runners are super friendly and do like to visit.  It's a great way to help pass the time for these long miles.

This older man told me he was 70 years old and used to run a marathon every decade but then decided they are too hard to heal from and that he would rather run half marathons.  He said they are just too much fun and that's what I should consider doing myself as well.  He talked me into that pretty easily.  I have no desire right now for any full marathons.  After running with him for a couple of miles I had pressed hard enough and let him go on so I could slow down.

The next person I saw had some writing on the back of his shirt that said he was running in memory of someone.  That COMPLETELY piqued my interest since I've lost my own son, Porter, l7 months ago and think about him a lot during my runs.  I caught up to him and we shared stories of our passed away loved ones.  He lost his little brother a few years ago at the tender age of 15.  I knew his sorrow and aches and it felt nice to be able to talk about our beliefs in family, the hereafter, the Lord's plan, and running of course.  He is the one looking at the camera and smiling, just two people over to the right of me.
At this point we had just finished coming out of the canyon and this is where supporters can line the streets and cheer.  I was completely blown away by seeing all my family!  There was Mark, Cooper, Kali, Wade, and Miles cheering for me and taking photos.  I had not expected them to be anywhere along the race route and didn't plan on seeing any familiar faces.  I was so happy, I almost cried.  After I let out some of my own excitement in squeals and yelling "hi" back to them I told all the people around me "There's my family and my grandson!!!"  One girl looked back at me and said "You look too young to be a grandma!" That was very sweet of her. You can see my arm in the air as I was pointing back at them. 
After running a few miles with this person I needed to slow down again and let him go on without me.  About mile 10 we are now definitely into the city and once again I look up to find my family on the side of the road cheering for me.  Kali is right there in black holding Miles and I am once again so happy to see them and started hollering in excitement.  Miles wanted me to hold him but I couldn't stop yet.  I was still working toward my goal!

Here's good old Wade holding a sign for me :)
Having family support is a huge mental boost when you are so tired and ready to start walking.  I love them so much and appreciate what they did in being there to cheer me on.
I actually talked to a couple more people along the way to help pass the time but don't have any great stories to share.   
Around mile 11 and 12 came the infamous hill I was warned about.  It was mentally as well as physically draining and I was a bit disappointed in myself for having to do a walk/run combo for a lot at the end.  I was just completely spent of my energy but tried to keep fighting for my goal. When I later saw this photo that the race people took I just laughed so hard.  What a goofy face I'm pulling as I'm trying to trudge up this hill.  About a half mile left I see my good friend Jody and her husband Doran coming to get me to help me finish.
Isn't she just so cute?  I needed her at that moment more than I can say!  She just kept talking to me and kept me focused in finishing strong.
As I came to the finish line and looked up at the race clock my jaw dropped.  I had finished with a final time of 2:16:02.  My goal was 2:30 and I would have even been happy with 2:20 so to see that made me overjoyed!  This medal and a cool Top of Utah shirt was our prizes for completing the race and one I'm happy to have earned however.....

Kristine did awesome and finished in 2:07 and Doran is amazing and finished in 1:53.  

These are the cute signs Kali made

Now, you might think my day is over.  Oh no!  It has just begun.  Since we are in Logan and having a little mini vacation we decided to make the most of it.  After showering and checking out of the motel we headed over to enjoy some yummy lunch at Costa Vida.  Their pork salads are the best!  Then, Kali knows a cute place in Logan canyon that has a huge pond filled with geese and ducks.  We had brought a huge bag of old, stale costco rolls with us and went up to the pond and fed the animals.  As soon as they saw us start to throw bread to them they came swimming from every corner of the pond.  It was so fun.  They were quacking and honking and Miles was mimicking them.  I was having so much fun that I forgot to take pictures.  Then we headed over to the cheese factory and ate cheese curds and some other yummy samples of cheese spread and crackers.  We bought a bunch of little flavored milk cartons.  Have you ever heard of orange milk, rootbeer milk, cookies and cream milk, banana milk?  There were a few other flavors as well but those were the ones I purchased.  Sounds pretty tasty to me.  I can't wait to try them.  After the cheese factory we headed over to the little town of Hyrum where Mark's dad is buried.  We visited his graveside and wandered around the cemetery letting Miles enjoy some running around.  Then we said good-bye to Kali, Wade and Miles.  They were going to stay another day with his parents. We got in the car and headed for home.  We made a stop in Brigham City and checked out a huge fruit stand and then drove further into town to check out the new Brigham City temple currently being built. 

What a great weekend filled with many memories!


Cynthia said...

You rock! I'm so proud of you. I have happy memories of that canyon from my USU days. Congratulations.

PS- I still think about you guys and Porter to. He's not forgotten. Not even by those of us who never got to know him.

LL said...

I am so impressed. I loved reading that and seeing the picture. WAY TO GO!

Unknown said...

I'm just so proud of you too! What another great accomplishment. And a well deserved weekend too!

Nikki said...

WOW Susette!!! What a great race for you! Your time is AMAZING! I am so happy for you. It seemed like you had so much fun on your run. Just chatting away and enjoying the moment. A HUGE COngratulations to you!! I would love to run that race next year.

Okay, such a small world. I know and LOVE Kristine Freeze!! I was her YW Leader a few years ago and are great friends with her family! Such a sweet girl!! So awesome that you two know each other.

Alana said...

holy cow you PR'd by like a billion minutes! that is so awesome! very very impressive! good work :)

Have a blessed day! said...

You rock! You are hooked on running and I'm so stinkin' proud of you!!

Can't wait to see what fall runs you have up your sleeve to do...I love your motivation!

Oh, and yes, the loves from your grandson are truly the best prize ever!


Audrey said...

Wow! I am so impressed! Good for you.

Cory Reese said...

Incredible job! Way to go!!!

Doran & Jody said...

Woot! Woot! So proud of you!!

Heatherlyn said...

I've never read the run of a marathon of any sort documented the way you did this post. It was very cool, and interesting. And you definitely look too young to be a grandma. :)

Brittany said...

holy crap!! you are amazing Susette! your hard work definitely paid off! you look great!

Mrs. O said...

What a great experience and you look amazing!

Jillian said...

I am super impressed. I doubt I would be able to do that!